"New Approaches to the Standard of Living"
This lecture provides an overview of research on measuring and analyzing long term trends in the standard of living using diverse sources and methodologies. Prominent among these is the use of the human stature, which provides a window on what has become known as the biological standard of living. Heights and other anthropometric measures have been used to assess health and nutrition in the past. They can be used to compare diverse populations and, using skeletal remains, they can be extended to the distant past. Because height measurements are comparable over time they do not suffer from the index number problems that beset other indicators such as real incomes or wages. Height trajectories can also be linked to a variety of other health outcomes and can provide insights into likely future health developments.